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EDITORIAL: A park for all children

Beartooth Park changes will benefit families

With school out for a few days of spring break, kids flocked to local playgrounds, spinning on merry-go-rounds, soaring on swings and racing down slides.

Playing is an important part of childhood, and we’re glad the Powell community is taking steps to ensure every child has a playground to enjoy.

Beartooth Park is on track to become the city’s first handicap-accessible play area, with specialized equipment for kids with developmental disabilities. The City of Powell Parks Department recently installed the first piece of equipment: an adaptive swing.

For children with spina bifida who struggle to control their muscles, the new swing provides important support.

“These have got backs, so kids that don’t have that muscle tone can get in there completely, and feel safe and secure and swing,” said Jonny Fisher, who led an effort to create an all-inclusive playground in Pocatello, Idaho.

Eventually, Beartooth Park will feature more specialized equipment specifically for children with developmental disabilities, as well as sensory-stimulating equipment.

In addition, the park on Powell’s north end is now fully enclosed by a fence, making it safer for children who are inclined to run.

Early planning calls for the development of a new 2 1/2-acre park adjacent to Beartooth Park. The new park would be part of the development of a 31-acre parcel to the west. That development — known as the Cason Addition — would include the park within a new subdivision. The city was set to consider annexation of the land at its meeting Monday.

As the Beartooth Park changes begin to take shape, it’s good to see a partnership between the city and OurKids, a local group that supports parents and caregivers for those with special needs. The nonprofit recently gave the city $5,000 toward the Beartooth project.

By working together, the two groups can move forward with the best plans for the park. We know those efforts are appreciated already.

“There are wonderful times when the parents of special needs kids know our children are loved by the community, because our children’s needs are being considered and thought of too — this is one of those times,” wrote Kara Janney Samuels in an online comment.

Every youngster in our town deserves a place to play and enjoy their childhood.

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